Renowned South African agent Mike Ngobeni, believes the lifting of FIFA’s suspension on Zimbabwe is a development that is good for Southern African football.
The world governing body finally lifted the suspension on Zimbabwe after a year and four months and appointed a normalisation committee tasked with running the day to day affairs of ZIFA until at least June 2024.
Ngobeni, who has close ties with Zimbabwean football having represented several stars over the years —including the likes of Khama Billiat, Talent Chawapiwa, Walter Musona and Takesure Chinyama —reckons the country has so much value to add to the Southern African region as far as football is concerned.
“This (the lifting of the suspension) is good for Southern African football. Because remember, all the neighbours—the countries in Southern Africa —need Zimbabwe to play football,” Ngobeni told Soccer24.
“That is so because they (Zimbabwe) can produce good players exported to Southern African leagues.
“Southern Africa also needs Zimbabwe because they (Zimbabwe) are so competitive when it comes to regional competitions,” he added.
Ngobeni believes Zimbabwe not playing international football was detrimental for the development, as well as exportation of players to teams outside the country.
“As an agent, if the country is not playing international football, you cannot be able to put value on a player. The players will be just playing local football with no value” explained Ngobeni.
“But when they are playing international football, as will be the case now, they (the players) can have value for themselves since they can now showcase their talent on an international scale.
“Believe me, so many people are celebrating Zimbabwe’s long-awaited return to international football because it benefits a lot of people when the country’s national team is playing.
“We had lost focus on Zimbabwean football because there was no national team. But now, we can start scouting for players again” added Ngobeni.
The M Sport Management founder insists it is easier to market players who will be playing for the national team, hence Zimbabwe’s return to the international community helps in that regard.
“As agents, we speak to so many people around the world. We speak to fellow agents in places like Egypt, in the Gulf region, Asia and Europe,” said Ngobeni.
“We know what is required if for instance you want to take a player to Egypt, national team caps are basic in terms of what they look for. These are teams which pay a lot of money, so they cannot just sign a player playing for a team in the local league without having a cap on his head.
Added Ngobeni: “Whenever clubs from all over the world get in touch with us as agents, they ask for the number of national caps the player has. They want players who play for their nation teams.
“I’m very excited about the lifting of the FIFA suspension because I have done a lot in Zimbabwean football. I have exported a lot of Zimbabwean players to South Africa mostly and other leagues.
“Zimbabwe has got talent. Zimbabwean players are valuable. In South Africa, Zimbabwean players earn more money because they are more valuable than even Congolese players,” added Ngobeni.